NEW YORK (NEWS10) — Do you have plans to travel with your pet but are unsure about what to do at security checkpoints at the airport? According to the Transportation Security Administration, the process can be easy when travelers know what to expect.

“Pets are often treated like family members and as such, sometimes travel with their humans,” says Robert Duffy, TSA Federal Security Director for LaGuardia Airport. “That’s why it’s valuable to become familiar with the security procedures for pets and how to go through the checkpoint security screening process quickly and easily. One of the most important things to know is that pets should never be screened through a checkpoint X-ray unit.”

Travel restrictions for pets can vary by airline and state so travelers should check with the air carrier before traveling with a pet. Travelers should also become familiar with pet relief areas at airports.

The TSA recommends following these steps when it comes to screening pets:

All pets should be brought to a security checkpoint in a hand-held travel carrier.

Remove the pet from the carrier just prior to the beginning of the screening process.

Place the empty travel carrier on the checkpoint conveyor belt so it can be X-rayed.

Never place a pet in the X-ray tunnel. The X-ray at the security checkpoint is used to screen passengers’ personal property and carry-on luggage only.

If possible, carry the pet through the walk-through metal detector during the screening process. Alternatively, a pet can walk through the screening process if the owner has the pet on a leash. Best to listen to the guidance that a TSA officer is providing.

A TSA officer will give the pet owner’s hands an explosive trace detection swab to ensure there is no explosive residue on the owner’s hands.

After the screening process is complete, owners should return their pet to the travel carrier at the re-composure area away from the security checkpoint. This location helps ensure the safety of the pet as well as other passengers.